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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Liver enzymes in alcohol consumers with or without binge drinking

Ulla Nivukoski, Aini Bloigu, Risto Bloigu, Mauri Aalto, Tiina Laatikainen, Onni Niemelä
Alcohol 2019 March 16
30890357

BACKGROUND: While alcohol use is linked with a wide variety of health problems, the question whether differences in drinking patterns could yield different outcomes has remained unclear.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We measured liver enzymes (ALT, GGT) from alcohol consumers with or without binge drinking from a population-based sample in Finland, where binge-type drinking is common. Data on alcohol use, diet, body weight, lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption, physical activity) and health status were collected from 19,225 subjects (9,492 men, 9,733 women), aged 25-74 years. The participants were subsequently classified to subgroups both according to the frequencies of binge drinking and the amounts of regular alcohol intake (low, medium and high risk drinking).

RESULTS: The quantity of regular alcohol use was roughly linearly related with GGT and ALT activities. ANOVA analyses of the trends according to the frequency of binge drinking showed a significant GGT increase in both men (p < 0.0005) and women (p < 0.0005) and ALT in men (p < 0.0005). In those with low risk overall consumption, markedly higher GGT (p < 0.0005) and ALT (p < 0.0005) occurred in those with binge drinking more than once a month compared with those with no such occasions. Binge drinking occurring ≤ 1/month also resulted in higher GGT (p < 0.0005) and ALT (p < 0.05) activities.

CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize possible adverse consequences of binge drinking on hepatic function even in those with low-risk overall consumption. The pattern of drinking should be more systematically implicated in clinical recommendations on drinking reduction.

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